The Giants get back on winning ways and get their revenge over the Bristol Flyers, grounding them 89-96.
The Giants were on the road tonight and looking for redemption twice over after coming off the back of a loss to the Glasgow Rocks and also to redeem themselves against the Bristol Flyers, the last time these two teams met it was a tough pill to swallow for the Giants faithful.
Dan Clark makes an instant impact as he returns to the starting line-up and drills a three to kick the Giants off on offence as well as announcing himself in a defensive aspect as he swatted away the close range effort of Marcus Delpeche. A fast paced start to the quarter produced high efforts and energetic play on the defensive side as both teams limited each other in the scoring department. As the quarter progressed, the Giants began to play smart basketball in the form of creating good looks for one another especially inside the paint, finding plays to exploit the Flyers zone defence. The Manchester giants’ patience on offence showed as they took the first quarter 25-18 with Geno Artison leading the team with 8 points in the single quarter.
Dan Clark picked up where he left off as he spun baseline and converted the reverse lay up. The Giants started to pull away slightly from the Flyers in the second quarter as they kept the high intensity from the previous quarter, slowly starting to wear out the opposition who had played less than 24 hours ago. Reaching the latter stages of the quarter as both teams trade basket for basket down the stretch with the lead changing ever so slightly in an even 2nd quarter however still remaining in the Giants favour. The Flyers were looking to break down the Giants lead back into single digits only to be thwarted by Tyrik Armstrong from beyond the arc. Tonight’s back and forth first half ended in favour of the Giants, ending 47-39 with Dan Clark and Geno Artison leading scorers with the former racking up 11 points and the latter notching up 10.
The Giants continued the intelligent basketball as they sustained their lead as the third quarter progressed. As well as cutting inside and exploiting their increased energy levels, the Giants couldn’t stop scoring from beyond the arc as well, scoring from all three levels as every Giant proved to be a collective nightmare as Martaveous McKnight, Geno Artison and Will Saunders proving to be tough to rattle when pulling up for a 3. After a more even 2nd quarter, Lloyd Gardner’s team squashed any form of a comeback as they began to further stretch their lead through stretches of scoring around the perimeter to then crash the paint and constantly keep the opposition running ragged and keeping them guessing as they led the Flyers 73-60.
Bristol began to show signs of life as we headed into the final quarter as they brought the lead back into single digits as they slowly began to attempt to chip away. Bristol started to pile on the pressure as they chipped away at the lead once again bringing the lead back into 7 points with 6 minutes left. In a phase of the game where ball possession and retention is key, both teams started to lose control over the ball leading to scoring possibilities for both teams with mixed results. The lead went from a double digit deficit to a single digit score line with seemingly very little to now separate the teams. A couple of Bristol turnovers coupled with missed shots turned the game back into the Giant’s hands as Manchester stretched out their lead once again and that is where the lead stayed as times runs out and the Giants headed back to Manchester with a win
Tyrik Armstrong paved the way for the Giants tonight as he led the game in scoring with 21 points and leading in assists with 8 points. Dan Clark returned to the Giants starting line-up tonight in emphatic fashion too as he finished with 19 points and 7 assists to his name as well as a trio of blocks on the defensive end. Geno Artison and Martaveous McKnight capped off the impressive scoring displays as Artison notched an impressive 17 whilst McKnight tallied 14.
Head Coach Lloyd Gardner said “I was just pleased with the effort, you know Bristol are a really tough team to play against, really physical, they take the game to you in a lot of ways, they really make the game hard and I thought we didn’t back down from that challenge.”
Looking ahead now, the Giants will be on the road once again in a double header of British basketball next weekend. First off they take a trip to face the Leicester Riders in the reverse retro night fixture on April 8th at 8pm. After that the Giants are back home for their penultimate home game of the season against the Surrey Scorchers on April 10th.
Words – Michael Blain
Photo – Emma @RocksNews_